Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quick Tip: Wrap Your Painting & Art

Do you have a large painting/portrait above a mantel or in a prominent place in your home?  I have a canvas that is 35"x35" and I love it, but it really shouts out "Spring/Summer" more than Fall/Winter/Holiday.  I certainly don' want to spend a lot of money to replace it several times a year.  So, I have found one way to get around this issue ~ at least for Christmas.  I purchased a vinyl tablecloth at Walmart for $3 and I used that to cover the painting like a Christmas present.  I used a hot glue gun to adhere it to the wood part of the canvas in the back.  Then I added some ribbon and a giant bow using Command strips since I was worried the hot glue would ruin the front of the painting.  Now I have a giant Christmas present above the mantle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

DIY Operation Christmas Child Ornament

As a way to thank our guests for coming to our Packing Party this weekend I wanted to give them a little gift and a momento of thier participation in OCC.  You can easily make an Operation Christmas Child ornament by using one of the plastic photo ornaments at Michael's ($1.99, but if you have a coupon you could get it 40%-50% off...or make sure you stock up after Christmas to use for next year!)

The one I purchased was 3".  Next, I created a picture that was 3" round using the OCC Logo.

 You can save the ones I created above by right-clicking and saving to your files.  I also thought it would be great to customize the back with the date of your party, or where your box(es) ended up!  Nothing beats a photo after all your shoe boxes are packed too :)  Once you print out you pictures, you just need to cut them out and insert them into the middle of your ornament. 
This ornament would also serve as a great reminder throughout the Christmas season of the TRUE meaning of Christmas. 

Have you had your Packing Party yet?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Elf on the Shelf Shoebox Shindig!

Our Elf on the Shelf arrives the day after Thanksgiving.  This year I wanted to do something fun, but I also wanted to pack more shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child this year and invite others to join in the effort.  So, we are hosting an Elf on the Shelf Shoebox Shindig!  I thought it was a great way to combine both of our family traditions!  Our daughter is in preschool, so the kiddos will enjoy the Elf on the Shelf movie while eating some pancakes in their pajamas!

Here is a copy of the invitation to spur your creativity!

Do you host a Packing Party for Operation Christmas Child?  Let us know!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pot of Prayers

I have been struggling to teach our daughter about prayer.  She is only three and a half, so I certainly don't expect her to truly understand the concept or power of prayer, but I really want her to have some understanding of why I pray with her.  I started explaining to her that prayer is like water and sun for people!  She knows that we water our flowers and plants and knows that it helps them to grow.  I told her that when we pray it is like we are watering the people we love so they will grow too!  Of course, she thought they would get bigger, but I explained to her that they are growing more in love with Jesus and becoming better on the inside.

I wanted to make our prayers for others fit this picture, so I created a Pot of Prayers.  I used pictures of the people we pray for to create a flower-looking design that I put on candy pop sticks.  I put corn in a pot and some ribbon and now we have a Pot of Prayers!

So, who do we pray for?  So many people: family, friends, classmates, and our Pastor.  How about you?  How do you pray with your Preschooler?

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Gratitude Gourd ~ A Christian Thanksgiving Tradition

Needless to say, I am all about traditions!  This year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to focus on GIVING THANKS to those people who touch our lives each day.  So many people, myself included, go about their day often wondering "Am I making a difference?"  I say YES!  Too often those who make a difference in our lives in small or big ways, go unnoticed.  For example, there is a woman who frequently serves us at Dunkin' Donuts who is always so kind and courteous and has a smile and a kind word for me and our daughter.  I always roll the backseat window down, so Isabella can say hello to "Miss Linda".  That woman probably feels that she is just a service worker at a coffee shop, but for us, she is a warm and friendly part of our day!  She is, unbeknownst to her, shining her light before others as God calls us to do in Matthew 5:16.

I have so  many other people in our life who offer a friendly smile and a wave when they could just go about their day without such a simple, but powerful offer.  Our mailman and the clerks at the post office, so many of the teachers and paraprofessionals at our daughters school, and the school crossing guard.  I still remember a man in our old neighborhood who was a crossing guard: he was so lively and friendly and waved each and every morning to the people passing down the road.  On my way to work in the mornings, I passed another crossing guard at a middle school not far from the school I taught at.  I noticed, for over eight years how kind this woman was and the respect and care that was evident on the children's faces as they crossed the street, chatting and laughing with her.  This woman must have been in her 70s.  She could have been cross and unkind.  She could have been bitter when the weather was cold and rainy, but instead, she was always smiling, courteous and diligent at her work.  

This year we are starting a new tradition called the Gratitude Gourd for the month of November leading up to Thanksgiving.  Each day we will give a pumpkin gift to someone whose light shines before us, as our way of saying THANKS and a way to give back for the kindness they have offered us daily.  I made up a poem that we will attach to each gourd.  
I will upload a few sizes for you all to use as you wish.  Please not that the font is DJ Harvest from as well as the cute pumpkin and mouse clip art.  The poem is written by me and is protected by copyright.  All rights are reserved.  You may use it for PERSONAL USE ONLY.  

So, you may be wondering what kind of gourd you need to use.  Well, anything goes!  Here is one of mine:
This one is a glass pumpkin jar from Target that cost $5.99.  If you are doing one each day leading up to Thanksgiving, you may want to find a less expensive alternative...or only do a few glass ones.  It is up to you!  You could do real pumpkins and just attach the poem!  You can do pumpkin bags, small plastic pumpkin containers, DIY paper pumpkin treat boxes...the possibilities are endless ~ especially if you check out Pinterest ;)

I would LOVE to see what you end up doing for your Gratitude Pumpkins so be sure to stop by and share on our Facebook page:

Are you READY!?!  Download your own Gratitude Gourd poems HERE :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Halloween Advent FREEBIE!

We just hung up our Halloween advent calendar!  I searched for some fun Halloween activities to do each night and not all of them fit what I wanted, so I decided to make my own borrowing from others' ideas and adding my own.  I also used a spidery font.  The "Watch a Halloween show or movie" and "Read a Halloween book" are listed more than once since we are just more likely to do that on more than one occasion.  It also helps for nights when you won't be able to cook or make a craft because you are too busy.

For the "Spooky Movement Cards" you can download them as part of Alison's AWESOME H is for Halloween packet HERE :)
Ready for your FREE Halloween advent cards?!?  JUST CLICK HERE!

Happy Fall Y'all!

It is officially fall and I am SO excited for the holiday season this year!  As I mentioned in my previous post, we moved in June, so this will be the first year celebrating the holidays in our new home.  Isabella started preschool and, thank God, it has been a smooth start.  I prepared her for weeks by role playing (I pretend to be the child and she leaves me at school, etc.) and I can't begin to tell you how much this helped her.  I also made a photo book of her classroom prior to the school year and we looked at the pictures each night and talked about it.  Lastly, we read a bunch of books about starting school and being nervous. 

My absolute FAVORITE thing we did was our Kissing Hand necklaces.  We read The Kissing Hand and retold the story with our felt board a million times.  The night before her first day of school I gave her a special Kissing Hand necklace. 
It has her name on the back of her's and mine says Mommy on the back.  I purchased it from this wonderful Etsy seller HERE if you are interested.  Speaking of the night before her first day...we had our School Year's Eve party!
 Her Magic School Year's Eve pillowcase designed to bring her sweet dreams and take away her fears.  The racoon is Chester from The Kissing Hand :)

The Kissing Hand felt pieces.

Her first day of school was awesome!  There were tears when I left, but she did not cry long.  We had a blast in the moring!  She had heart-shaped waffle pops and got her Shultute.


She came home with a smile on her face and very proud of her first day certificate and coloring.

 She called Daddy and then Grandma :)
 She had a First Day of School lunch!
 And for dessert we celebrated with cookie-brownies and sparklers!

We have only had tears on two other occasions.  I am so proud of her!  Her time at preschool allows me to get some stuff done around the house or time to read my Bible and devotionals.  The best thing is that she has the opportunity to socialize with other children her age. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

School Year's Eve & First Day of School

It has been a while since I posted...we have moved into a new house and we mostly settled in now :) I can hardly believe it myself, but I resigned from my teaching position and I am officially a SAHM for the time being. Isabella is 39 months and we are going to give Preschool another try this year. She will go five days a week in the mornings from 8 to 10:45 am. I am VERY nervous! We tried Pre-K two days a week when she was two, but she cried and cried. My mother was watching her full time and could not handle watching her precious granddaughter cry and call for Pre-K was short lived. The decision to enroll her now is primarily because she has no playmates her age and she really wants to play with other children. My main concern is that we are in a new home, she finally potty trained, and moved into a big girl bed over the short course of six weeks. I worry that all this change will cause her to just fall apart when school starts and she realizes Mommy can't stay at school with her. On a lighter, and much more festive note, I can't wait to have a School Year's Eve celebration again! Here are some pictures of what I did for her last Pre-K stint:

 What would any Back to School or First Day of School event be without the book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn!?!  They also have an adorable cookie cutter that makes a perfect cookie treat for during or after the story.  I also purchased the felt pieces for the story :)

 Our School Year's Eve dinner table.

Placemats I made at school...the perk of being a teacher myself ;)

 These are actual School Year's Eve pajamas!  Adorable (although costly for PJs) ~ you can buy them at Chasing Fireflies

She loved her hand cookies!
We had a blast that night!  The next morning was fun too, but I was really anxious.  We started with a her getting her very first Schultüte (German School Cone) and a  First Day of School breakfast:

This school cone is adorable!  We purchased it from KinderCone.

The First Day of School plate is a treasure we will use every year on the first day of school.  That was an Etsy purchase.  So was the First Day of School banner below.

Her First Day of PreSchool outfit!  Another Etsy purchase ;)

Bella with her cousin who was also starting Pre-K, but one year older.

We continued the celebration that evening after dinner with a cake that was baked in a loaf pan and inserted into her Littel Poeple bus.  We added pictures of her in the windows.  It came out so cute!

For now, I am going to try and focus on the excitement of a new schol year and push my nerves and fears aside.  Any advice for a mommy with a child starting Pre-K?